Commuters using Potters Bar Christmas shoppers’ free parking spaces

“WHOEVER introduced the free Christmas parking had obviously been on the sherry early!”

That was the angry message from one of a number of Potters Bar traders, who have slammed Hertsmere Borough Council for introducing the scheme, as it has opened the floodgates for commuter parking.

Chris Turner, of Kitts Travel, told the Potters Bar Edition the festive parking programme had been set up by a “Christmas fool”.

The chief executive of the Darkes Lane firm said: “They just don’t realised the damage they’ve done.

“It just beggars belief that they can be so stupid.

“It’s a stupid, stupid move the council has made and a retrograde step. It’s all political and very clever – saying we’ve got free parking.

“But they haven’t done what we’ve asked them, we always said we wanted free parking, but for a limited time. We want enough free parking time for people to have a chance to do their shopping locally; now no- one can park out there.”

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Chris Piercey, of Elaine’s Stationers, on the same road, added the move was “totally mad” and said black bin bags placed on top of the meters had made for confusion and a free-for-all.

A Hertsmere Borough Council spokeswoman said they’ve been monitoring the situation as they were aware a “small minority” of commuters may abuse the system.

She said out of the 62 bays in Darkes Lane, 10 vehicles had been parked there all day and from the possible 140 Barnet Road and High Street spots, nine cars were there all day.

She added she would therefore “refute” the claims.

“If someone is a repeat offender we have been putting advice on their window to encourage them not to do it again,” she said.

However Dave Butler, of Darkes Lane’s Readers Butchers, disputed the council’s claims.He said: “I haven’t seen any wardens or anyone from the council or any stickers.

“Commuters have been parked outside my shop all day. We’ve had customers coming saying they can’t find anywhere to park.

“The council should have said free parking between noon and 2pm – and then it would’ve worked.

“I say ‘thanks for messing up the Christmas trade!’”